Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

FM does it with frequency!
Kona
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Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by Kona » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:49 pm

Hello there. I have a question to pick your brains with. I live here in Baltimore, Maryland but I occasionally travel back and forth to Norfolk, Va. There is a station down there that plays classic rock, it's frequency is 106.9. So i'm driving down the road here in Maryland and I turn on 106.9 just for the fun of it and I'm able to receive that station from Norfolk waaay up here (about 250~ miles) but it seems like it's fighting with another station on the same frequency that's based out of western MD. Each station is received for a couple seconds and they become clear half-way through before the other is received and it just goes back and forth. One day, the station in western MD went down for a couple hours and I was able to receive the Norfolk station clear as day, even with all of the radio data and HD signal. I believe the reason for being able to receive the signal from so far away is because the station is beaming it straight up the chesapeake bay with no obstructions. I am also able to duplicate this on the radio in my garage.

Is there any possible way to single out one of these stations so the radio doesn't keep flip-flopping? Like some sort of fine-tuner? I understand there are other classic rock stations around and there's the internet and everything, but there is a cool factor to listening to a station really far away with A basic FM radio.

Thanks for reading!

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Deep Thought
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:53 pm

You can do it but it will require a rather large directional receive antenna mounted on the roof, which won't do much for your car's aerodynamics.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

Kona
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by Kona » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:56 pm

Ah, I understand. I'm actually looking for something more along the lines to work in my garage. I'm borderline entry level to this, is there any antenna you'd recommend?

Thanks

rfn
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by rfn » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:27 pm

Try one of the many cheap antennas on Amazon for around $25-$39/ I've used them in a couple of situations where it's not possible to use anything large. They include a pretty decent amplifier intended for UHF/VHF but which seems to do quite well with FM. Rotor is built in so you can point it at the station you prefer and leave it there but can also scan around just for grins and giggles. They're not real durable in winds above about 40 MPH and not worth fixing if one gets broken so, given the price, I just keep a spare around. They have several brands, most have a gray plastic wedge-shaped central section that houses the amp and rotor mechanism.

vacuum tube
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by vacuum tube » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:26 am

My guess is that if you can receive that fringe a signal at all someone will be putting a translator on that frequency in your local area before long. From my experience those cheap antenna are a "you get what you pay for" JUNK! The built in amplifiers are noisy and very easy to strong signal overload. You would probably be better off with one of 4 element FM yagis that show up on ebay and other places online. I think Channel Master and Winegard have discontinued they large yagis for FM. There are some large specialty FM antennas out here but be ready to open you wallet.

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davek
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by davek » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:39 pm

Assuming one is available, can you stream the station?

rfn
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by rfn » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:19 pm

While I agree that cheap antennas are far from perfect they are a good way to see what you can get for reception without going broke. I've bought big-name antennas at big bucks only to find there really was no point. If a cheapie gets results than it's easy enough to spend $400+ for something really durable but, unless you have money to waste, no point in experimenting with the spendy good stuff. In one instance I replaced a cheapie that proved the point with a frequency-specific professional antenna and, since the installation was meant to last 50 years, it was money well spent. But not for something that's a passing fancy.

vacuum tube
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by vacuum tube » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:47 am

This will probably be a moot point for the OP. I see there is a CP for a 110 watt translator in Baltimore on 106.9, so that will probably wipe out any DX on that frequency locally when it comes online. DX ing on FM broadcast is becoming a thing of past with all the translators going on the air. More coming as the Auction 99 batch get granted and the Auction 100 opens in January for yet more.

Kona
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by Kona » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:08 pm

That's a shame. Wonder what's going to happen when all FM frequencies everywhere are full. It will probably be a PITA to receive even local stations, this is already happening in the D.C. area. Compared to when I was a kid, it's actually getting hard to find a frequency that isn't complete static in this region.

I'll fork out a few bucks and try out a cheapo antenna, if I can come across one of the discontinued models vacuum tube specified, i'll jump on it. I had a cheap amplified esky a while back and that got me the HD signal on most DC stations but it fell off the mount and broke the antenna and the cheap amp with it. If I get another one i'll probably disassemble the amp and encase it in epoxy or something so none of the connections can break, maybe even add shielding or maybe not.

I'm going to keep tinkering with this over the winter since there isn't much else to do. If I get good results i'll try to record and post them here. Also I apologize for the long delays between posts, I work 2 jobs and it's hard to find time to get to my hobbies. Thanks for chiming in guys.

BigRed
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by BigRed » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:17 pm

Where's Radio Shack when you REALLY need them? (There's actually still a couple of independent Radio Shacks left in the "near to DC" area; Prince Frederick, MD and LaPlata, MD come to mind, although I'm not certain about LaPlata anymore). You can also find outdoor antennas at home improvement stores like the Home Despot and how LOW(ES) Can You Go. If you need a decent outdoor antenna for FM reception check out these guys.

http://wadeantenna.com/product-category ... roduct_cat

http://wadeantenna.com/product/channel- ... -periodic/

They're a bit pricier than Radio Shack's offering but they're quite rugged, built for CATV head-end use. I like them for things like EAS receivers. Available from Toner Cable Equipment Company in Horsham, PA.

As to losing FM reception I think you can thank the FCC and the difference between their commercial FM broadcast and their FM translator Rules. With the commercial Rules there's very specific distance separation requirements between the various class(es) of stations. The translator Rules are more a "well, lets try it and if no one complains . . . " (OK it's a little more complicated than that, but much.) That's what you'll have to do if you find that you can no longer hear a station that you used to listen to because of interference from a translator. Complain LOUDLY to the station. If they get enough listeners having reception issues within their grade B contour (it's a fairly small number needed too), and they forward those to the Commish, then Uncle Charlie will force the translator to shut down (translators are NOT protected services). Don't dilly-dally though. Time can be of the essence with these situations. (There was a case of an FM translator on one of the tall towers in Catonsville, MD that was interfering with another station's coverage about 50-miles away.Station complained and the FCC shut down the translator. This was after they waited too long to deal with a similar problem with one of their other stations from a translator that was much closer; they lost that battle because of the time that had passed.)

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Deep Thought
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by Deep Thought » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:17 am

With the commercial Rules there's very specific distance separation requirements between the various class(es) of stations.
Those distance separations are a joke and everyone knows it. They don't come close to actually providing the protection they claim to provide, but since the rules explicitly state that commercial station protection is limited to what the spacing table provides, you've got no recourse. Any clever engineer can locate a class-A on a mountainside and run the full 6 KW into the valley 3000 feet below, creating what is essentially a class-C1 instead of an A at class-A spacing, and there is nothing you could do about it.

Translators are allocated on a contour protection basis, which is also how the NCE-FM "reserved band" is allocated.

The problem with translators is the allocation rules are so hopelessly outdated they are "protecting" service far outside the protected service contours of the Part 73 stations as if it were 1980.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

musiconradio.com
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by musiconradio.com » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:27 am

SAMCO SAM 159 Very directional . Expensive, but works. However if new translator coming on line in your market on same frequency, It is not going to happen.

W2XJ
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by W2XJ » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:49 pm

An antenna solution could be extremely complicated and expense, possibly impossible. Easier solutions is to complain directly to the FCC. Say you used to listen to WXXX and now this other station is knocking it out. Do it quickly before that rule is changed. Another solution - stream. I rarely listen to radio over the air any more. Even in the car I stream.

vacuum tube
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by vacuum tube » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:34 pm

Addressing the last reply by W2XJ to complain to the FCC.... He has no standing. He is trying to listen to a station 250 miles distant that is being "interfered" by another full service FM ~60 miles away that has been on the air with it's licensed facilities since the mid 70's. The translator is yet to go on the air. If he is inside the proposed 60dbu contour of the proposed translator he could file an objection, but I really doubt the FCC is going to give a station protection at that distance (250 miles). The FCC does not offer protection for tropospheric ducting reception.

W2XJ
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Re: Singling out 2 stations on same frequency

Post by W2XJ » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:18 pm

In fact, for the moment, he does. This exact thing happened in NYC for a new translator which was walked, at great expense, to 4 Times square to ‘translate’ an HD2. A station far out of market surreptitously encouraged fringe listeners to complain to the FCC. A station has no standing. Even in the case I just cited, they violated the rules by encouraging listeners via their website. Complaints must come from actual listeners not affiliated with the station. The 4 TS translator had to be shut down. It ‘only’ covered 3 or 4 million people.

All that said, there is pressure on the FCC to change that policy since it is a real threat to AM translators. So as I said, move quickly or start streaming.

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